for the last couple weeks, i've been in a dinner making rut. the time crunch between the time we get home from work & the time the kids need to be in bed seems to be getting smaller and smaller, meaning the time we have to actually cook dinner is also getting smaller. while some may disagree, one of our newest favorites has been waffles for dinner. they're easy to make, infinitely adaptable, and toddlers love them - ours now asks for them a couple nights a week. not to mention jason was head over heels with this combo - bacon + cheddar always wins in our house.
last month we took the boys apple picking. an hour and a couple meltdowns later, we left with about 30 pounds of apples. while a few were destined for other things, the overwhelming majority were processed into one of a few perfect foods - unsweetened apple sauce. i canned somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 pints, hopefully enough to last until next year. it's hard to keep this house in applesauce, with a toddler gobbling it up and his almost seven month old brother finally onto solid foods.
midway through my applesauce making foray, i decided to sacrifice a few cups and turn it into apple butter. in our house, we enjoy jams and fruit butters a couple ways: slathered onto homemade scones, a top crackers spread with peanut butter, and mixed into muffins.
the only good part of this time of the year is the food. i am a seasonal eater and the weather here has made the switch from warm and summery, to distinctly fall - more cold than warm, drizzly, and dark - meaning it's finally time for soups, dinners cooked all day in the slow cooker, and meats slow roasted in the oven. my favorite.
this is the quintessential fall meal. chicken is slow roasted in hard apple cider with mushrooms and served over crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or something equally as delicious to sop up all the wonderful gravy.
i love love love dinners like this one. not only is it really simple to throw together, all the flavors balance really well, and it's something that should a baby or toddler beckon for your attention, another person can jump right into and not need much explanation to know where you are in the recipe. bonus that it's easily ready in 30 minutes - the longest step for me is waiting for the pasta water to boil - and the classic flavors are loved by toddlers and adults alike. this one easily makes it into my weeknight rotation and will taste especially good in the dead of winter, when we're longing for some kind of taste of summer.
i've had my eyes on a couple recipes for carmelitas - an oatmeal bar cookie stuffed with creamy, salty caramel and chocolate chips - for years. one saturday afternoon, about six months ago when i was eight months pregnant, they soared to the top of my "must make now" list. i took advantage of nap time and was digging into these a couple hours later. making them is the easy part, it's waiting for them to cool completely before eating that takes restraint!